Tom Early on Writing, Characters, and his new release ‘The Final Season (Seasons Rising #3) 

Standard

The Final Season (Seasons Rising #3) by Tom Early

Harmony Ink Press
Published June 11th 2019

Cover Artist: Sadie Thompson; Cover Design by Paul Richmond

Sales Links:  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

 

✒︎

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Tom Early

How much of yourself goes into a character?

  • Fay is fun. He was one of the first characters I’d ever written, and he is, at this point, rather like who I might be if my time past high school went very differently. The rest are their own, with aspects from other people I admire or am intrigued by that I went and snagged like a magpie and built a character around.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

  • I’m not sure it matters, really. If it’s enjoyable to read, what’s the point in saying a character is too perfect? (That said, if the character is enjoyable to read, that probably isn’t a problem).

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

  • For sure! Characters often have minds of their own, and when I hit a hard scene, they like to scatter and hide until it stops smarting. I have to tempt them out sometimes to finish the scene; it’s a fun time. Usually if it happens, it’s about a week for them to come back, but I’ve hit patches with a hard ending that I had to put aside for months, and eventually realized I was being told this needed to be rewritten.

How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

  • This series has had all the covers done by my childhood friend, who’s credited on the inside cover of the book. They work with me to make covers that we feel accurately reflect the core concept of the book! And wow, what wonders they’ve made…

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

  • I’m proudest of The Final Season, because I wasn’t sure if I could write it. It gets at a feeling I’ve had very strongly for a while, of… the sense that just because you have been on a path for a long time, doesn’t mean that you are bound to it. Especially if the actions or expectations of others are what placed you on that path to begin with. It isn’t giving up to realize you aren’t who you are when you started on an ambition. And that’s okay. This last book is about that feeling.

What’s next for you as an author?

  • Good question! I have a fun book called The Kingdom and the Crow, which is YA Fantasy, and follows an assassin named Jasper who’s having a bit of an identity crisis in the middle of a world-ending conspiracy. I don’t know what will happen with it yet, but I’m hopeful. I’m also working on another novel that more or less is my take on deconstructing some of the story beats of the Ancient Greek concept of a “Hero’s Journey”. It is, unsurprisingly, a romance. A witchy one. We’ll see what happens.

If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

  • Good lord, no. I believe it was Patrick Rothfuss in one of his books that said it is a beautiful thing to love “because”, but a rare and powerful thing to love “despite”. I think some of the greatest love stories out there include characters who are terribly flawed, but find ways to be loved, and to love, and to find a measure of peace despite it all.

   

Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

  • Oh my. Yes. Several. The Final Season has one. Not much of it survived, but parts of it exist near the beginning. They tend to be a little bit more embarrassing than I usually am able to write.

 

If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

  • The Edinburgh Botanics is a lovely place to write! Big garden, lovely café, quiet and surrounded by nature. I like ambient noise and people around me when I write, so quieter but active places like that are my favorite.

 

With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

  • I write for me, and to help others like me. We could all use more of ourselves in stories. And we could all use the reminder that no matter what, it’s worth it to keep trying.

 

What’s next for you as a writer?

If you find out, please do let me know. I’m terribly curious.

 

Sequel to The Doorway God

Fay is no longer a boy haunted by the spirit of Winter—he is now the embodiment of the cruelest Season. If he thought access to the immense power that grants him would make his life easier, he couldn’t be more wrong.

 

The return of the Seasons is tearing Gaia—the magical realm that mirrors Earth—apart as factions form to either take advantage of the shift in power, fight against it, or use it to spur societal change. Terrifying enemies emerge to face Fay and the other Seasons, even as the Seasons plan their own battle strategy.

 

Fay, Sam, Tyler, and their friends and allies are facing a final test unlike any other. To survive the chaos unleashed on his world, Fay will have to choose what to hold on to and what can be sacrificed.

About the Author

Tom Early is a native Bostonian, coffee addict, and gay disaster. When he’s not off doing weatherly things for work, he can be found writing, talking about his characters with anyone who’ll listen, and giving impromptu lectures on the importance of representation in genre fiction, especially fantasy. There is a nonzero chance that he is actually a dog.

Tom Early on Writing, Characters and his novel The Doorway God (Seasons Rising #2) (author interview)

Standard

The Doorway God (Seasons Rising #2) by Tom Early
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Art by Sadie Thompson;
Cover Design by Paul Richmond

Available for Purchase at Harmony Ink Press

Amazon | Google Play | Kobo

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Tom Early here today in our author’s hot seat answering questions. Welcome, Tom.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Tom Early, author of The Doorway God

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

That depends very much on the character. Fay has a lot of me inside him, which is the result of writing in the first person, living through a similar period of my life at the time, and learning a bit of the rules of writing as I went. Other characters like Sam or Tyler are based mostly off people I know, or amalgamations of traits from people I know very well. But everyone has at least a bit of me inside them, I think.

  • Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

Not in the least, unless you have a life free of mistakes and such a high opinion of yourself as to think you’re infallible. Fay has a lot of my life experiences in him, in some way or another. A lot of those are mistakes or otherwise embarrassing moments. That does not a Gary Stue make – it just makes him real enough to be relatable.

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Fantasy is an interesting beast in that regard. I love it because I get to build up a whole lot of worlds and cultures and rules from nothing, but then I need to make sure that it’s internally consistent at all times, and that everything that isn’t fantasy is still believable and follows internal logic. The more you want people to believe in magic, the more the material has to follow the strict rules of physics, and the magic has to follow the rules you’ve clearly set out for it. I end up researching a lot of what I’ve already set down, ironically enough. That, and some basics of hospital and university procedure for certain scenes.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Very definitely. I’ve always had a soft spot for fantasy, and that’s never gone away. Nobody who knows me is surprised that that’s the genre I write.

  • Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

I haven’t had that happen quite because of hurting, but I have had to put aside ‘in progress’ stories before because I felt I wasn’t quite up to the task at the time. Sometimes because I felt I didn’t have the talent or experience, and other times because the subject matter was something I had to steel myself for, and didn’t feel emotionally up for it at the time.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I love realism, but I’m also a terrible sap. Give me HEA every time, just with acknowledgment that there are always bumps in the road to be dealt with – they just don’t have to be dramatic and spell out an end.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I think it’s a very good thing, because it’s affordable and accessible to a lot of people. I don’t think it’s going anywhere, and I’m glad for the chance to see it develop in my own time. I don’t think it spells the end of print books, but there are always growing pains.

  • How do you choose your covers?

When I was young and foolish, I signed a blood pact with a demon. They told me the terms and conditions of the pact, and from there I was directed to an individual known as Sadie, who was then put in charge of my covers from that point onwards. I regret nothing – their art is truly spectacular and suited perfectly to my books. (Check my books for contact information – Sadie’s art isn’t something to be missed)

  • What’s next for you as an author?

Functioning as a human being while finding time to write, I imagine. Beyond that, I’m not sure – I just know that I’m not done writing with the conclusion of Seasons Rising as a series. I hope to stay working with Harmony Ink Press for a long time yet!

  • What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I’m fascinated by people who are nothing like me, especially if I can figure out the core of their personalities. That’s also mostly impossible, but I do my best anyway. Anyone who has the confidence to tackle the world head on and can talk with total strangers without feeling like an alien is someone I would like to get to know better. 

  • Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

I once wrote an entire complex of assassins and a city plagued by a name no one could remember how to speak aloud while more than a little drunk. I reread it the next morning and took some choice bits to squirrel away for later, and then deleted the other 70% or so. As it turns out, drunk me likes very much to run with the coolest idea he can think of in the moment… which often happens to be something someone else has written.

  • If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

I do very well in places where I am completely comfortable and not lacking in outside stimulus. Coffee shops tend to work very well for this, especially if I can snag a comfy chair. Give me background people chatter, a sugary caffeinated drink the size of my head, and decent wifi, and I will be more than happy to sit and write away the day for hours.

  • With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To wide our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write because writing makes me happy, and because I believe that stories help make the world a happier, more understanding place. There’s a lot going on today that I can’t do a damn thing about. This is something I can do to make a difference in my own way. If I can take care of myself and maybe help others a bit too with my writing, I’m going to do it.

Blurb

The Seasons are coming to Janus University, and Fay’s and Sam’s lives will never be the same.

Through last year’s deadly Trials, Fay and Sam gained admittance to the magical university, and the coming of autumn signals the start of the school year. But both of them have goals beyond their studies. For Fay, it’s finding a way to contain the ancient and evil spirit of Winter, which has no regard for human life. Fay has vowed to never let Winter kill again—but working with the school’s headmaster, Didas, is a risk. Didas cannot see past the potential power he can draw from Fay, and since Fay’s boyfriend and familiar, Tyler, is away at Tufts University, Fay might have to face his possession—and his dreams of four mysterious figures—on his own terms.

While trying to help Fay, Sam seeks information about her mother’s past in the magical world of Gaia, but will she like what she uncovers? To survive, Fay and Sam must make alliances, but it’s harder than ever to tell friend from enemy.

About the Author

Tom Early is currently a student at Tufts University who probably spends more time than is wise reading and writing instead of studying. More often than not, he can be found wrapped in a blanket on the couch forgetting most of the things he was supposed to do that day. 

When not writing, Tom can be found either reading, gaming, drawing, scratching his dog, or bothering his friends. He also frequently forgets that it’s healthy to get more than six hours of sleep a night, and firmly believes that treating coffee as the most important food group makes up for this. If you show him a picture of your dog, he will probably make embarrassingly happy noises and then brag about his own dog. He’s always happy to talk about any of his previous or current writing projects, because people asking him about them reminds him that he should really be writing right now. 

Love Fantasy Fiction? Author Tom Early Talks About His Inspiration and New Release Aspect of Winter (interview, excerpt and contest)

Standard

BT_Banner

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Tom Early here to answer a few  questions about himself, writing and his latest release, Aspect of Winter.  Welcome, Tom.  We have a few questions for you this morning.

Q.  Why write for YA readers?

YA is where representation matters most. There aren’t enough YA books out there that feature protagonists that aren’t straight, and there are even fewer books that manage to be the proper adventure fantasy story and just also happen to have gay characters. I want to help change that.

Q.  I have always loved the idea of a college for magical studies, what draws you to this element?

It’s kind of impossible to ignore the influence Harry Potter has on any author who attempts to write a magical school type of story, and I won’t deny that it definitely helped give me the idea. But Harry Potter is about early schooling, and not more of a college element. Janus University seems kind of like the next logical step for what to portray. You’ve got powers, and that’s great. But what do you do with them? What is the world like when magic is readily available and there’s no real control of powers after a certain point? Aspect of Winter, especially the later books in the series, aims to answer that.

Q.  Friends to lovers is a favorite trope for so many readers, is it one of yours too?

It depends. I’ve never been a fan of childhood friends to lovers because it just seems unrealistic to have two people who have been as friends for years and years to suddenly want to be more. But newer friendships that eventually expand their boundaries is far more realistic for me. I find the idea of a friendship that progresses over a few months to a relationship to be a lot better, and a lot less abrupt than love at first sight, either. Love takes time to grow, but it isn’t something that is inherently likely to happen from years of friendship, either.

Q.  Do you have a favorite story that you read as a younger reader?

I read The Name of the Wind many, many times when I was younger, and still do occasionally even now. I wouldn’t quite call it YA, but it’s definitely read just as much by teens as it is adults. The story just manages to set up a slow pace and make it work, which, especially for fantasy, is incredibly difficult to do well.

Q.  What feeling do you want your readers to take away at the end of this and any of your stories?

Aspect of Winter is meant to be a story that you enjoy reading. I wrote it to entertain myself, and hopefully it entertains anyone who reads it as well. But making Fay gay, and Sam pansexual, and Tyler bisexual isn’t a coincidence. I want people to realize that it’s just as easy to enjoy a good YA book with non-straight main characters as any other.

Q. Did you bring any of your school history and make it part of the Janus College learning experience?

The high school Fay and Sam go to at the beginning of Aspect of Winter is loosely based off my own high school experience. Their efforts to get into Janus University is like a fictionalized, combat fantasy version of the college application process. And their time at Janus University in book two is meant to be similar to my own college experience in the feeling of freedom and courses and choices offered, but Janus University is a bit more ruthless than my own school is.

Q.  What’s next for Tom Early?

Well, there’s definitely book two, which is tentatively titled The Doorway God at the moment. I’m about in the middle of it at the moment and working pretty much every day on it. But I have other novels I’m working towards publication with as well. One of them is high fantasy and features a bisexual assassin and an asexual princess and an epic plot against the safety of the entire world, and another tells the story of a possibly delusional young man trying to find a boy who was taken from his mother in 1930’s England. But finishing the Aspect series is first on my list.

AboutTheBook

22930117Title: Aspect of Winter

Author: Tom Early

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Cover Artist: Sadie Thompson

Length: 260 pages

Release Date: October 15, 2015

Blurb: It’s hard enough being gay in high school, but Fay must also deal with hiding his magical ability—powers he barely understands and cannot possibly reveal. His best friend Sam is his only confidante, and even with her help, Fay’s life is barely tolerable.

Everything changes when Janus University, a college for individuals with magical capabilities, discovers the pair. When the university sends a student to test them, Fay and Sam, along with their classmate Tyler, are catapulted headfirst into a world of unimaginable danger and magic. Fay and Tyler begin to see each other as more than friends while they prepare for the Trials, the university’s deadly acceptance process. For the first time, the three friends experience firsthand how wonderful and terrible a world with magic can be, especially when the source of Fay’s power turns out to be far deadlier than anyone imagined.

Excerpt

 

AS IT turned out, being wedged into the small space below the math wing staircase was exactly as uncomfortable as I’d imagined. Now, I was in there of my own choice, sort of. I held still and listened, letting out a sigh of relief when I heard the boys’ voices fading. I decided it was safe and did my best to wriggle out.

Groaning, I brushed myself off and realized that I’d somehow managed to cover the majority of my backpack in a thick layer of dust. Rumor had it that years ago the staircase used to be green. Now it was gray. I looked at my backpack in disgust and let out a breath, concentrating. The dust glittered as a layer of frost covered it. When I hoisted my bag onto my back once more, the dust slid right off, the frost preventing it from clinging.

Clean backpack in hand, I trudged up the stairs, across the hall, and walked into the classroom. I took my customary seat in the back next to the poster detailing the derivative rules of calculus, feeling a flash of pity for Ms. King as I watched her try to get anyone to listen, and grabbed my book of the day as the front row began its usual antics. Today they asked Ms. King about her love life, which, while incredibly rude, was extremely successful in throwing her off-balance.

I would never understand high school, even after nearly four years of it. It seemed barely tolerable for everyone involved, including the people who fit in. I didn’t fit in, and so every day was a new chapter in the purgatory of hiding what I could do.

I sent a grateful prayer to the high school gods as class was interrupted by an announcement saying we needed to go to the nurse’s office for a new immunization or something. Ms. King pulled us out of the truly thrilling world of integrals and sent us down one at a time. I was one of the last to go.

Stepping back into the hallway, I prayed that I wasn’t going to run into any of Logan’s crowd again on my way down. The number of times I’d heard “fag” muttered under someone’s breath was already too high.

The school had two hallways running between the faculty area and the math wing, and most people took the lower one. I chose the glass hallway because it was usually empty (this surprised me as well, but apparently using stairs was just too much for many of my classmates), and it was pretty cool to be able to see the entire campus from what was effectively its highest point. I trailed a finger across the glass as I walked, leaving behind a fractal line of frost in the warm September air.

I smirked. For as long as I’d been at Owl’s Head High School, there had been, in the eloquent phrasing of high schoolers, “spooky shit” in the fall and spring where kids would come across ice or cold areas in warm weather. I knew I needed to keep my head down, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t have a little fun.

BuyLinks

Harmony Ink Press

Amazon US

Amazon UK

All Romance eBooks

AboutTheAuthor

Tom Early is currently a student at Tufts University who probably spends more time than is wise reading and writing instead of studying. More often than not, he can be found wrapped in a blanket on the couch forgetting most of the things he was supposed to do that day.

When not writing, Tom can be found either reading, gaming, drawing, scratching his dog, or bothering his friends. He also frequently forgets that it’s healthy to get more than six hours of sleep a night, and firmly believes that treating coffee as the most important food group makes up for this. If you show him a picture of your dog, he will probably make embarrassingly happy noises and then brag about his own dog. He’s always happy to talk about any of his previous or current writing projects, because people asking him about them reminds him that he should really be writing right now.

RafflecopterGiveaway

Winner’s Prize: Free signed copy of Aspect of Winter

a Rafflecopter giveaway
//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

TourSchedule

October 19:

Love Bytes Reviews

World of Diversity Fiction

Sue Brown

October 20:

BFD Book Blog

RJ Scott

The Land of Make Believe

October 21:

Boys on the Brink

The Purple Rose Tea House

Queer Sci-Fi

Drops of Ink

October 22:

Carly’s Book Reviews

Wicked Faeries Tales & Reviews

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

Divine Magazine

October 23:

Reviews and Interviews Blog

TTC Books and More

Nephy’s World

Diverse Reader